Category: Culture & History
review

Helen Keller’s Socialism

A documentary on Helen Keller that is both inspiring and edifying.

The Techniques of Justice

Orwell and Camus on a Hanging and the Guillotine

Camus and Orwell both understood that the justification for state violence depends on describing it in such a way as to not convey too specific an image of the actual event.

The Cost of “Financial Literacy”

The book suggests that the key to ascending from the working class is to join the owning class through investing, where you can forever feed from the golden trough of passive-income, typically replenished by the working class you were once a part of.

review

Looking Back at Maoism and the Global Left

As against nearly a century of debates over Stalinism, the international left has never come to terms with Maoism, especially its global impact.

review
Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste

The Occlusion of Political Economy

Wilkerson’s adroit storytelling jumps off the page, but the glaring omission in her book is political economy.

Auditing U.S. Democracy

Classical Liberalism, Contemporary America, the Trump Years, and Beyond

The Trump years were deeply undemocratic, but they did not mark an abandonment of a previously rich democratic politics

Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution

“With this year’s worldwide renewal of the Black Lives Matter protests, readers could hardly ask for a better time to revisit the Haitian Revolution.” Review of Sudhir Hazareesingh, Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture.

The Pull of Communist Culture

Martin Comack reviews, The Pull of Politics: Steinbeck, Wright, Hemingway, and the Left in the Late 1930s—Milton Cohen’s account of how the CPUSA attempted to establish relationships with three major American writers.

Can We Achieve Justice On Planet Earth?

Can we imagine a future where the power of nations does not depend on their stores of “precious” material elements and the manifestation of power is not “enhanced” tools of violence and war?

Being Friedrich Engels

Friedrich Engels, born 200 years ago on November 28, 1820, has been termed the ‘first Marxist’ in some commentaries and histories from the nineteenth century on, and with good reason.

Counter-historical Revolutionary: Dan La Botz’s “Trotsky in Tijuana”

Trotsky in Tijuana recognizes the importance of Trotsky’s revolutionary vision and leadership in the years before he was exiled from Russia. And it shows that the force of his commitment to the transformative power of the working class continued into the 1930s.

Exhaustion of signifiers: the current political crisis in Bolivia

This exhaustion of signifiers is one of the characteristics of the political moment Bolivia is living, in which, apparently, everyone wants the same things, but conceives them in opposite ways.

QAnon and On and On

Let me venture a prediction about next week that also applies to the months and years to follow: At no point will Donald J. Trump order the arrest of an elitist network of cannibalistic pedophile Satanists. Not one!

The Hunger of Vibrant Matter: Materialism and Food in the Pandemic

The fundamental contradiction between production for exchange (profit) versus production for use (need) is the source not only of intermittent food deprivation, but of chronic and acute, life-threatening hunger for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

The Life of A Strategist: Adolfo Gilly’s Biography of Felipe Ángeles

Adolfo Gilly’s most recent book, so far available only in Spanish, is a long (almost 800-page) book dealing with the life of a Mexican general who played a crucial role in the battles of Torreón and Zacatecas at a crucial stage in the Mexican Revolution.

Domestic Politics: Home Improvement Can’t Repair America’s Pandemic Crisis

The digital documentation of DIY domesticity has become a nearly-compulsory social act, a demonstration of how well we are “hanging in there” or “making the best of it”—both exceedingly popular hashtags right now.

Dark Satanic Mills

A review of Josh Freeman’s history of factories.

The Farm Equipment Workers

A History of Radical Labor

A review of Toni Gilpin’s history of labor struggles in the American heartland.

Walking the Tightrope: Latin America’s Pink Tide

A review essay on Steve Ellner’s collection on the Latin American turn to the left.

From the Russian Revolution to Russia Today

The relationship between Russia and the left from 1917.

Painting the Passports Brown

Listening to Dylan During COVID-19

A review of Bob Dylan’s “Murder Most Foul.”

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